February 24 2014
Former NLR Mayor Patrick Henry Hays kept it short and sweet today — even turning over a big minute-glass to start the time — in announcing his bid for the Democratic nomination for 2nd District Congress, a decision he said was clinched by "16 days in October" that were a "travesty."
"Democratic crime is crime and Republican garbage is garbage," Hays said, and it's time for Congress to act in concert and in a non-partisan way to solve problems that affect people's lives. If he had his way, Hays said, he'd send the nation's mayors and city councils to Washington, D.C., and get things cleared up. "We're going to carry local government solutions" to D.C., he said; those solutions would not be Republican or Democratic but American. The first thing he's going to do when he's in Congress, Hays said in response to questions after the announcement, was "go find a Republican and make a friend out of him."
Hays said his anger "kept bubbling up" over gridlock in Congress and convinced him to run before Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican, announced he wasn't going to run again. He wouldn't have voted for the Affordable Care Act, he said, but "you don't argue over the windows and let the house burn down."
He added that the health care system costs too much and has too much waste and "we've got to deal with it."
His reaction to Republican Congressman Tim Griffin's decision not to run for re-election? "Shocked."
"Tim said it was because of family and I take him at his word," Hays said, "but candidly, that's the reason I'm running," for the next generation's future.
Who knows if Hays' "local government" theme as an argument for more responsive government will carry the day? He's going to have to come up with something with a little more oomph than the creation of the Patrick Hays Senior Center, his example of leadership and the "can do" spirit he'll take to D.C. But he can point to other improvements in his era — from a successful river trail to major entertaiment venues and a reviving downtown.
Hays headed up to Conway after the North Little Rock opener.